Peter Jackson Considering Dolby Atmos for 'The Hobbit'

The Hobbit Ian McKeller Gandalf in Tree - H 2012
Warner Bros.

The Hobbit Ian McKeller Gandalf in Tree - H 2012

The new Dolby sound format will be installed at the Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards.

Peter Jackson is considering the new Dolby Atmos audio format to create the sounds of Middle Earth for The Hobbit, his two-part prequel to The Lord of the Rings.

“Dolby are coming down to New Zealand to give us a demonstration,” Jackson told The Hollywood Reporter. “Our particular postproduction schedule is reasonably tight (but) three dimensional sound would be fantastic. If we can do it I would be pretty keen.”

Jackson is already experimenting with advancing technology on The Hobbit. The films are being shot in 3D and -- for the first time on a major Hollywood film -- at 48 frames per second.

The Dolby Atmos format is developed to create “lifelike” and “immersive” sound and involves the placement of speakers all around an auditorium as well as across the ceiling. The system is designed to transmit up to 128 simultaneous and lossless audio channels, and renders from 5.1 up to 64 discrete speaker feeds, according to Dolby.

On Tuesday, the company revealed that the home of the Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland will be rebranded the Dolby Theatre and that the venue would be upgraded to support Dolby Atmos.

Disney/Pixar’s Brave will be the first film to test the Atmos format, and Dolby aims to install the sound system in 10-15 theaters worldwide for this trial run.

Dolby indicated that after a cinema launch, the “longer term” goal is to bring an Atmos experience to the living room, including on tablets, PCs and mobile devices.